Smith Named Rbk Edge/AHL Rookie Of The Month

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The American Hockey League announced that former Utah and current Bridgeport center Trevor Smith has been named the Rbk Edge/AHL Rookie of the Month for February.

He becomes the second former ECHL player to win the award as John Curry, who played for both Las Vegas and Wheeling this season, was the recipient in December.

The ECHL has affiliations with 26 of the 29 teams in the AHL, marking the seventh consecutive season that it has had affiliations with 20 or more teams in the AHL. More than 225 players have played in both the ECHL and the AHL this season and almost 500 players with ECHL experience have played in the AHL this year. The AHL has 10 former ECHL coaches who are head coaches and 14 others who are assistant coaches.

Smith scored two game-winning goals and had 15 points (8g-7a) in 13 games, and he scored in each of the last nine games in the month (6g-6a). He has 22 points (11g-11a) and 14 penalty minutes in 36 games for Bridgeport.

The 23 year old, who is under contract to the New York Islanders, was selected to the ECHL All-Star Game, but did not play after being called up to Bridgeport on Dec. 27, 2007. He has 25 points (11g-14a) and 28 penalty minutes in 22 games for Utah.

Other former ECHL players nominated for the Rbk Edge/AHL Rookie of the Month were Jean-Michel Daoust, Benoit Mondou and Derek Nesbitt.

Former ECHL players won the CCM/AHL Player of the Month award in November (Martin St. Pierre), December (Pascal Pelletier) and January (Grant Stevenson). Former ECHL All-Star Jeff Glass was the Rbk X-Pulse/AHL Goaltender of the Month for November.

Former ECHL players have won the Rbk Hockey/AHL Player of the Week award eight times this year with Sean Curry (Dec. 16), Jaroslav Halak (Jan. 6), Grant Stevenson (Jan. 20), Danny Taylor and Miika Wiikman (Jan. 27), Andrew Gordon (Feb. 11), Drew MacIntyre (Feb. 25) and Karl Goehring (Mar. 3).

For the 18th year in a row there is a former ECHL player on the American Hockey League champion as Hamilton had a record 12 players with ECHL experience on its roster.

In both 2005-06 and 2006-07, more than 225 players played in both the ECHL and the AHL and there were over 800 call ups, involving over 500 players, from the ECHL to the AHL. From 2002-03 to 2006-07, the ECHL had over 2,000 call ups, involving more than 1,000 players, which is more than the total call ups for all other professional leagues combined during that time period.

The AHL Player of the Week award was won 14 times by a former ECHL player in 2006-07 while a former ECHL goaltender was named the AHL Goaltender of the Month the last five months of the season. Six former ECHL players were on the All-AHL Teams in 2006-07 including former Charlotte goaltender Jason LaBarbera, who was named Goaltender of the Year, and former Mississippi defenseman Sheldon Brookbank, who was selected as Defenseman of the Year, while former ECHL goaltender Jaroslav Halak was named to the AHL All-Rookie team.

ECHL
The ECHL, celebrating its 20th Anniversary in 2007-08, is the Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League and the third-longest tenured professional hockey league behind only the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League.

ECHL began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states and has grown to be a coast-to-coast league with 25 teams playing 900 games in 17 states and British Columbia in 2007-08.

The league officially changed its name to ECHL on May 19, 2003.

The ECHL has affiliations with 26 of the 30 teams in the NHL in 2007-08, marking the 11th consecutive season that the league has had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL.

There have been 350 former ECHL players who have gone on to play in the NHL after playing in the ECHL, including 94 in the last three seasons.

There have been 205 former ECHL players who have played their first game in the NHL in the past seven seasons.

There are 15 coaches in the NHL who have ECHL experience including former Wheeling coach Peter Laviolette, who is head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes, and former Mississippi coach Bruce Boudreau, who is head coach of the Washington Capitals.

The ECHL is represented for the seventh consecutive year on the National Hockey League championship team in 2007 with Anaheim assistant coach Dave Farrish, players Francois Beauchemin and George Parros and broadcasters John Ahlers and Steve Carroll.

Further information on the ECHL is available from its website at ECHL.com.